Success stories of Parbati Pariyar and Prem Kumari Tharu
Parvati was born in the hilly area. Being Dalit and poor she could not go to school. She fell in love with a Dalit boy Krishna Bahadur Pariyar in early age of 15. They eloped from the village and came down to plain area Terai hoping that they will have better life there. As they had nothing with them except the clothes they were wearing. They did some daily wages work for survival but it was a seasonal job. So many days they had to go hungry. One kind family provided them a small space to build a hut. They settled there. Because of frustration with life and company of similar kind of people her husband started drinking locally made alcohol and squandered his wages. Being drunk he would come home and beat Parvati daily. As Parvati became pregnant both were worried. Parvati heard about local women’s group being formed. She also decided to join it so that she can save some and get loans in need. Thus she became a member. The women’s group heard of her situation, they went and talked with her husband and even threatened to take action if he beat her wife. It made him sober. Parvati started saving. The group also recommended her to the Women Acting Together for Change (WATCH) to support her through its poverty to prosperity program. This program tries to analyze situation of their resources and their management and see if their opportunities and possibilities. But they did not have anything except their labor. After a series of discussion, Parvati decided to start making Raksi (the local drink) but she did not have skill so she learnt working with her neighbor. She did not have necessary utensils and she rented from the neighbor. She requested investment of if US$ 100 to start this business. It needed firewood which she collected from the river stream which was brought there during the flooding. Thus she started her small venture. She suggested her husband to collect such logs and woods from the river bed, make firewood and sell to others. It worked so he rented a cart and started carrying firewood to nearby market. He also started supplying sand to construction site. As Parvati started to have difficulty in hard work they decided to start a teashop and small stores. WATCH found it possible and provided another investment of US$ 500. She had already paid the first loan. As there was no teashop and store around it worked. Because of making money from various sources they decided to save more and bought a piece of land. Parvati gave birth to a baby boy. But she continued to do her business. As the teashop worked well they started to sell snacks, cooked meat and local drinks which worked very well. So rather than bringing meat from outside they decided to start raising chicken for eggs and meat. They also raised pigs to feed the leftovers from the kitchen. As there was demand for the raw meat they started buying a male buffalo and butchered it every Tuesday and sold the meat. They have now refrigerator, freezer, etc. also. They also built a house in the land they had bought. Now they save some money everyday which they are planning to invest. They are also thinking of insurance. As the market is very small so they have diversified the business. Within ten years they have become prosperous, happy and forward for bright future.
Prem Kumari Tharu
Prem Kumari Tharu is 42 years old. When Women Acting Together For Change (WATCH) came to her village to form women’s group. She also became a member and started saving some money monthly. She is now 42 years old and she has three daughters and husband. She lives in the ward no. 3 of Banganga Municipality in Kapilvastu. It is still a remote village. They had quite difficulty in raising their children. Her husband had no work and he was like a vagabond. Because of company he used to drink and beat me at night. She would do wage labourers works but her husband would not do it. He would demand for money from her. If she did not give him there would be quarrel and she would be beaten. After being tired of him she managed to send him abroad by taking loans in very high interest rate of 60% a year. His income would be enough for paying interest but they could not pay the loan.
Prem Kumari heard about WATCH’s poverty to prosperity program and discussed with the group who agreed to nominate her for it. WATCH staff came and looked at various resources . We had small patch of land and a house. After the analysis she discussed about the possibilities and opportunities. We developed a plan of action. To get the support from WATCH as a family we had to do certain things like cleanliness, no smoke, toilets, etc. which I agreed to do. I decided to start raising pigs. WATCH invested US$ 500. I built the pig sty add also a fish pond to raise fish. Pig’s waste would go to pond for fish to eat. So I started raising pigs and fish. According to the plan I also started raising ducks and chickens. I did not raise pig only but also brought piglets from faraway place to sell to other people. I asked my husband to come back from abroad. So we started small shop to sell meat. Fish. Eggs, etc. Some people wanted to eat cooked meat and fish also. So we started serving them also. Now, we have a small teashop and store. As income started flowing we both are busy working so we do not have to quarrel. My husband does not go out to drink any more. So he does not quarrel and beat me anymore. We have three daughters. All of them are going to nearby private school. People have started to see us as successful and happy family.